Νέο Κύμα

The Cyprus issue in view of geopolitical developments in the Eastern Mediterranean

Fernard Braudel (1902-1985): “What is the Mediterranean? It is a thousand things together. It is not one single landscape but countless landscapes. It is not one sea but a succession of seas. It is not one culture, but an accumulation of cultures piled one on top of the other. “

1. Introduction

2. Current Situation, Options and Challenges

2.1. Single State

2.2. Status quo

2.3. Two States

2.4. Confederation

2.5. Annexation of the occupied to Turkey

2.6. Federation

2.7 Conclusion

3. Proposal

3.1 The idea of creating a “Federal Development Area (FDA)” in the context of solving   the Cyprus problem

3.2 Withdrawal of Troops

3.3 International Relations of the Republic of Cyprus

3.4 The Functionality of the State and the EU Framework

3.5 International guarantees

3.6 The Presidency and Vice-Presidency of the Country

4. Interim strategy of the Republic of Cyprus

4.1 The framework of the UN SG and the international community

4.2 Continuous Scientific Analysis

4.3 Broad Political Consensus

5. Conclusions

6. Epilogue

1. Introduction

The following text on the Cyprus issue aims to provide the basis for discussion and fruitful reflection among the members and friends of the New Wave, as well as society in general. It is an attempt to overcome the cliched and superficial debate (local and foreign) surrounding the subject over the last sixty years.

It is clear that the Cyprus issue is once again at an extremely crucial juncture, which requires a clear strategy and careful handling. Conditions today are extremely difficult and complex as a result of both endogenous and exogenous factors interacting with each other. A new approach is essential. 

Turkey, possessing an operative role in the matter, and remaining unrelenting in its ambitions for strategic control over Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean at large, is exhibiting increasingly more aggressive behavior in the area, recently making clear its intentions through its provocations in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). On the other hand, the Cypriot leadership has failed to contribute towards any improvement in the situation over the last 60 or so years, and through a series of errors and omissions in its political handling, it appears weak and uncommitted to finding a solution.

The only way forward is a new approach which, while taking into account the mistakes of the past and the injustices committed by all sides against the Cypriot people, must nevertheless be able to leave them behind and focus on the future of the country through the building of Another Cyprus.

2. Current Situation, Options and Challenges

The prevalence of extremist T/C elements, with the victory of Ersin Tatar in the last elections, brings the T/C community back to a scenario of division, one that Rauf Denktas had been developing for decades. The Tatar election victory is directly correlated to the systematic alteration of the demographic character of the occupied areas by Turkey through settlement but also to the failure of recent talks on the Cyprus issue.  However, it is notable that the majority of T/C did vote against the idea of division.

Ankara’s current extremist policy, expressed by nationalist and Islamic trends in Turkey, creates conditions of constant crisis and questioning of even traditionally accepted positions and balances. A dangerous revisionism prevails within the ranks of the entire Turkish political system.

The weakening of Greece after 2008, due to the economic crisis, has adversely affected efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem.

The volatile geopolitical situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East is pushing international players towards a search for a new balance that is becoming more complicated due to the “return” of the United States to the region and its willingness to be actively involved.

The conflicts in our region between Israel and Palestine, in Lebanon, Syria, Libya, the Caucasus, the precarious situation in Egypt, have a decisive impact on the developments in our own region because they are forcing the international players, NATO, the US, the EU, but also Russia into repositioning. 

The EU’s lack of response to Turkey’s practices in the Cyprus EEZ encourages Turkey with respect to its extreme assertions. A Turkey that seeks and has largely succeeded to alter demographic realities by encouraging settlement, mass migration of T/C and the full integration of the economy of the occupied areas into its own. 

This is the geopolitical context within which the Cyprus problem is currently evolving. Due to the long history of the issue, it is impossible to wipe the slate clean and start negotiations anew. A negotiation framework is in place (which of course sooner or later adapts to geopolitical developments), both in terms of the models and their content as well as in terms of the possibilities of their implementation.   

Aspirations for a two-state solution, something that is outside the UN framework and resolutions and outside the logic of ensuring the survival of the Cypriot people, must be clearly and consistently refuted as a matter of principle, right from the start of any new negotiation process.

Let us look at the six main models for resolving the Cyprus problem as recorded over the last 47 years, and let us consider the possibilities for their implementation as well as international reactions and implications. In other words, what are the positions of the main players in our region in each of these major scenarios?

2.1. Single State
2.2. Status quo
2.3. Two States
2.4. Confederation
2.5. Annexation of the occupied to Turkey
2.6. Federation

It is of crucial importance to establish a stable negotiating framework but also to develop appropriate conditions for reaching agreement with respect to content. Within this framework we must look beyond just the name and the slogans of the desired solution, focusing just as much on its substance and content.

2.1 Single State

The 1960 Constitution introduced the single state, with the bi-communal principle as its main pillar. It implemented the Zurich-London agreements, without the explicit expression of the popular will, since no referendum was ever held. It is, however, inferred that the popular will was expressed through the elections for President and Vice-President and the election of members of the House of Representatives and the Community Assemblies. It was partially implemented until 1963 (within the period of 1963-74 the agreement collapsed), while the Turkish invasion brought about a violent intervention against the constitutional functioning.   

One can argue that the 1960 Constitution contains some federal elements of governance, albeit without the geographical dimension included in the academic definition of “federation”. It is characterized by elements of decentralization of powers and self-governance for both communities.

The current geopolitical conditions and the fait accompli on the ground leave no room for such a solution. The persistence by some groups to discuss such a solution leads in essence to an extension of the deadlock and as a result, if it prevails as the position of the Greek Cypriot side, towards a final de facto division. At the same time, an obsession with such a solution alienates us from the international community, but also provides the other side with the opportunity to place new conditions and demands on the table. Our side accepted the transition to a federation as a painful compromise and for decades insisted on it. Revisiting a solution based on the principle of a single state would show inconsistency on our part, something which would have a negative impact on our negotiating credibility. Our basic position before 1974 was that the 1960 constitution was not operational. It is therefore not clear whether all those who support the single state solution accept the 1960 regime. It would appear that they are looking for a new single “functional” state, with its own characteristics.

2.2 Status quo

Although on the surface the status quo may seem viable, in reality it is not. There is no historical precedent where a fragile status quo remained unchanging. With the occurrence of the first geopolitical imbalance, the status quo changes at the expense of the weaker party. Under no circumstance can the status quo be seen as an option for the final solution to the Cyprus problem.

The existing regime will exist in Cyprus only while it does not disturb the major powers of the region. There are, of course, forces that want the status quo to remain as it favours their own interests, such as Russia, which hopes for a permanent fall-out between Greece and Turkey and, by extension, friction within the core of NATO. A possible detachment of Turkey from the West would probably lead to a diversification of Moscow’s interests and the status quo might cease to be its priority, being substituted instead for a tougher stance towards the Republic of Cyprus. Perhaps such a development would bring Cyprus even closer to the West. It would be a completely different geopolitical game, with huge risks but also opportunities.

For the time being, as the Republic of Cyprus we cannot abandon the status quo except in the event of a viable solution. However, even the status quo is not static – it is shifting with new fait accompli on the ground. Turkey’s actions in Varosha and the EEZ are examples of a unilateral change in the situation, while time itself also brings about changes: illegal settlement, Morphou, demographic change, ECHR decisions on user assets, etc.

2.3 Two States

The idea of two states is occasionally mentioned as a possible solution by both sides.

The principal argument among Greek Cypriot supporters for such an approach is the return of territories in exchange for recognition of the “TRNC” and the normalization of relations with Turkey. This argument is completely baseless because in a separation based on the two-state solution, we risk losing, among other things, even more territories. In political divorces, the winner is the most powerful of the two parties. In this scenario, Turkey would also claim much of the EEZ in the southern part of Cyprus.

As far as the normalization of relations with Turkey is concerned, this would at best be transient. For example, the maintenance of guarantee rights and the establishment of bilateral agreements of the “TRNC” would no longer be preventable. The EEZ issues would have to be resolved, while continuing insecurity would be reinforced.

The simplistic argument that is usually presented is that the solution of two states is no different to the current situation. Obviously, this argument does not take into account that the acceptance of a two-state solution legitimizes the results of the invasion.

In conclusion, the two-state solution would be disastrous and open up the prospect of all Greek Cypriots being displaced from their land. The position of the Greek Cypriot side must be firm against the recognition of two states. We cannot legalize illegality, or jeopardize refugee rights and property on either side.

The supporters of the two-state solution on the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish sides are also supporters of full subjugation to Turkey, having as a starting point an independent and recognized T/C state that will function as a Turkish protectorate, with the eventual elimination, through its assimilation, of the Turkish Cypriot community. Two states do not mean borders with the T/Cs, it means in essence borders with Turkey, which will forever undermine the presence of G/Cs in this corner of the Mediterranean. Borders with Turkey means endless conflict and ultimately complete occupation of Cyprus when conditions “mature” for Turkey. It is well known that Turkey does not maintain friendly relations with any of its neighbouring countries.

How would the international community view the two-state solution? The EU will not accept the two-state solution unless such a solution was pre-agreed, and the new T/C state that would result would never become a member of the EU. It should be stressed here that the Republic of Cyprus joined the EU with all its territories under Protocol X. Therefore, such a development would require new negotiations for accession to the EU for the newly formed G/C state, something that would be unacceptable.

Many European countries that themselves experience risk from separatist movements (e.g. Catalonia), do not accept new states which have come about as a result of secession, to join the EU.

A two-state solution would be disastrous for T/Cs too as they would lose the right to obtain a European passport. Many T/Cs would try to retain the right to acquire European citizenship by retaining the citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus.

International players, including the US, also have concerns about a two-state solution.

The UN is well aware of the above-mentioned position of the EU and international players, but it is particularly aware of the G/C position, using it to argue against the two-state solution. 

2.4 Confederation

Confederation is a bad solution for G/Cs. It is the most desirable solution for the Turkish side, because through it, Turkey believes that it will have total control over the T/C state and indirect control over the G/C state, including control over the EEZ resources of the whole of Cyprus. Turkey also considers that a confederation would give it strategic control of the eastern Mediterranean, giving it a significant geostrategic advantage. Within the framework of a confederation, Turkey considers it feasible (more so than in the case of a two-state solution) for the Turkish Cypriot state, as part of the Cyprus Confederation, to join the European Union, thus enabling Turkey to influence EU decisions.

The solution of a confederation presupposes the union of sovereign and independent states and therefore presupposes the ex ante recognition of the “TRNC”. The parties to the confederation maintain their sovereignty and independence. The danger here is, of course, enormous, because in the event of the collapse of the confederation, each side will be left with its own state, its own sovereignty, its own people, its own territory and its own independent constitutional power. This cannot and should not be accepted by any Cypriot government. The EU does not favour such a solution because of the multiple internal institutional and operational problems it would create. Of course, the EU could accept such a solution under specific conditions, for example, if the Confederation of Cyprus presents evidence to the EU that the confederation will have the capacity to implement the acquis of the Union and to participate effectively in its institutions, without hindrance. In other words, it is possible that it would shut its eyes to such a solution, especially if the confederation is presented under another name.

The name matters.  Switzerland is called a confederation and it is actually a classical federation. In the case of Cyprus, this could be the opposite. It is not improbable for the game to play out as such: the solution is meant to be a confederation (two states with their own sovereignty and an institutional link to each other through a small number of common powers/responsibilities) but to be presented as a federation (one state, with two or more territorial units with enough common powers in the “common state” to ensure its preservation as a state entity).

But even if it was viewed positively by the international players, including the EU, the confederation cannot form a basis for discussion. Our small size may make room for EU tolerance, through the adoption of various solutions that limit the impact on the functioning of European institutions.  However, only on the principle of partition can a confederation be built.

2.5 Annexation of the Occupied territory into Turkey

The annexation of the occupied by Turkey is the second-best option for Turkey after that of the confederation.  In this case, however, Turkey faces a major problem: annexation can be applied in practice and on the ground, but is only legitimised through general international recognition. Without the recognition of the international community, it will continue to be considered internationally that this territory is under Turkey’s occupation. Annexation, as the act of imposing the sovereignty of one country on the territory (or part of the territory) of another country, is internationally illegal.  In the case of Cyprus, the territory that would be annexed would officially remain the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.  Moreover, such an annexation would be contrary, not only to general international law, the UN Charter, the 1949 Geneva Convention, and the Helsinki Principles, but also to the 1960 Treaties on Cyprus, to which Turkey is also a party, as well as to UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus.

On the international political scene, however, logic and international law are not always enforced. Many times, in the minds of erratic leaders, megalomania, among other things, takes center stage. Turkey views the annexation of occupied Cyprus to itself as a viable option, especially as we approach 2023, when amidst celebrations of 100 years of Turkish Democracy, Erdogan would welcome the opportunity to flaunt an expanded Turkey (through Syria & Iraq to the East, Cyprus to the South and the Aegean to the West). The annexation of Cyprus also has huge symbolic meaning for Erdogan’s Neo-Ottoman dreams, because it would constitute a reversal of what he considers to be the “unfair” Treaty of Lausanne of 1922, with the reclamation of territories he was forced to abandon.

2.6 Federation

This is the solution favoured by the international players and which has been incorporated into all UN resolutions and proposals, including the recent six points of the Guterres paper. While each side may perceive the term federation in a different way, all UN proposals have referred to a form of federation, with each proposed plan along the way, having reflected the prevailing geopolitical conditions of the time.

Our side should reinstate the federal model as the only basis for discussion because it represents, under the circumstances, the only hopeful and sustainable prospect. In the context of the negotiations, we must pursue an improved model of federation based on the principles of respect for the rights of both communities, human rights and fundamental freedoms, sustainability and proper functioning of the state. The challenges of effective participation can be satisfactorily resolved on the basis of the above principles. The feeling of compromise related to a Bi-Communal Federation (BCF) will soften over time with the return of refugees to both sides. The mixing up of the population will gradually soften the geographical texture of the BCF. Restrictions sought by the T/C side can be temporarily accepted. The other side’s concerns about population statistics that favour G/Cs should be limited to the protection of specific civil rights (to elect and be elected).

2.7 Conclusion

The “New Wave” believes that the only way forward is a true federation that will also give a sense of unity of space, the state and its people. Cyprus should in essence be a single state.

3. Proposal

Following from the above, the “New Wave” puts forward its proposal based around the solution of a Bi-communal federation.

The jurisdiction of the central federal government should include, without exception, foreign policy, defence and security, airports and ports, natural resources, federal taxation and the Central Bank. These are the minimum domains necessary for a coherent federal state. In addition, energy management, meteorology, archaeological sites and the environment should form part of the jurisdiction of the Federal Central State, for purely scientific reasons to be analysed in a separate annex.

The settlement of Turkish populations in northern Cyprus, the long period of occupation, the prevalence of nationalist policies in the T/C community and ambivalences on both sides, have made the pursuit of a solution and the possibility of return of territory particularly difficult. It is time to examine new ideas, always within the framework of a bicommunal bizonal federation, that could be acceptable to both communities without creating a sense of grievance on either side.

 The BBF can produce a democratic constitution which would limit the concerns of all Cypriots, while simultaneously satisfying their hopes for the future.

At the time the solution is signed, all sides should feel that they are winning on an equal footing.  It should not be felt that some are gaining immediately, while others must wait for returns in the long run. It is understandable that, territorially, in relation to the pre-invasion period of 1974, we will have to accept losses, nevertheless the situation will be an improvement over the occupation we still face today. However, these losses should depreciate over time, through the application of an evolutionary timetable with clear milestones, which will make the solution fairer for all the citizens of Cyprus and of course be in line with the European acquis.

3.1 The idea of creating a “Federal Development Area (FDA)” in the context of solving the Cyprus problem

Let us consider the idea of creating a “Federal Development Area (FDA)”, in addition to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot States, which would operate within the framework of the bicommunal bizonal federation. After the Varosia have been returned and placed under the G/C administration, we could, following the example of many federal countries, (Brussels in Belgium, Washington in the USA and Ottawa in Canada), create this Federal Development Area (FDA), which would be run by the central federal government.

The creation of the FDA would limit the G/C state to 67% of the territory and the T/C state to 23%, based on an allocation to it of 10% of the land. The FDA could include regions which have been under debate in the various solution plans.  Indicatively, it could include the buffer zone, the whole Morfou region, the buffer zone in the walled section of Nicosia, the walled section of Famagusta, the four large villages of Karpasia (Rizocarpaso, Yalousa, Agia Triada, Agios Andronikos) that were to be returned according to various solution proposals, the four Maronite villages (Asomatos, Kormakitis, Agia Marina, Karpasia), and finally Kokkina in Tylliria. It could also include part of the British base of Dekelia, for the return of which reference has been made in the past, as well as part of the other British bases. The FDA will have a territorial continuity (Ammochostos – Limnitis) and 3 enclaves (Kokkina, the villages of Karpasia and the Maronite villages). Archaeological and religious sites, as well as ports and airports, should also be placed under federal administration. 

This zone should incorporate model organisations. For example, federal model universities, federal model university hospitals, federal research centers, as well as federal courts. Also, the facilities of all federal sports (national) teams of Cyprus.  It could also include green development centres such as large solar parks in the Mesaria plain, as well as bio-organic crop plantations. Such activities, with proper green development planning, are fully compatible with the EU’s Green Deal, from which we could seek generous funding as a reward for the solution. The FDA will operate under special status and as a transition hub between the two states. From a business perspective, a habitat of start-ups could be developed within the FDA and the establishment of some specialised industries could be promoted through the use of appropriate incentives. In other words, this area could be transformed into a new educational and entrepreneurial center and a large European technological and scientific park, contributing to joint G/C and T/C activities, especially those of the younger Cypriot generation.

In this way, the economy of the federal central government would function as a major income source for the two states of the federation. The FDA would in fact be an area for promoting joint action and trust between the two communities. These are the areas for which we should ask the EU for support, as part of the financial package of the solution. The EU would in this way offer young people good reason to embrace and support the solution.

This proposal goes beyond the logic of the evolutionary solution that has been formulated many times in the past. We will enter a period of evolutionary improvement of the solution, where basically the two states, G/C and T/C will seek a stronger relationship and cooperation with the FDA that may in the future serve as a model for the whole of Cyprus. 

The property problem and, therefore, the financial aspect of the solution, with the creation of the FDA, where there will be a significant return of refugees and resettlement, will be reduced. It is after most displaced people return to their properties, that the so-called “cost” of the solution will be minimized.  

For the final formulation of the FDA idea, detailed proposals will be presented, which will also cover constitutional issues. For example, what will be the operating regime? What will be the relationship between the FDA and the two regions? How do we avoid complications and distortions due to the operation of a special zone alongside the two states?

We need not wait for the solution of the Cyprus problem to begin creating the FDA, we should begin now, with the support and encouragement of the EU and the international players, to embark on some joint projects on a limited scale, in order to start building mutual trust.    

3.2 Withdrawal of Troops

The starting point and necessary basis for a solution is the agreed withdrawal of all occupying troops and the abolition of guarantees within a short timeframe.

With the signing of a solution, the main body of the occupying troops should immediately withdraw. Their heavy weaponry must be placed under UN supervision until its removal. The heavy weapons of the national guard could also be placed under UN supervision until the establishment and operation of the professional army of the Federal Republic of Cyprus, based on provisions of the new constitution. Cyprus is required to have its own army to operate fully within the framework of the EU. In any case, it is something that is also required because of potential threats, for example from terrorist attacks.

Troop retention can only be accepted for a short transitional period, with the participation of troops from EU member countries and other countries that will be mutually acceptable to both communities. It is crucial to take into account the concerns and fears of all Cypriots, given the tragic experiences of the past.

After the completion of two rounds of elections of the state officials of the new federal Cyprus (i.e. after five years), the creation of a Cypriot army is proposed, comprised of members of the two communities as well as the other religious groups. Let us recall that, under the 1960s constitution, the professional army was to consist of 2,000 members (1,200 from the G/C community and 800 from the T/C). The professional Cypriot army should have more of the characteristics of a “rapid response body”, than those of military forces.

In an alternative scenario, with the withdrawal of all foreign troops we could consider the complete demilitarization of Cyprus, subject to all the necessary safeguards.

3.3 International Relations of the Republic of Cyprus

Harmonious relations with all the countries of our region must be the main objective of a united Cyprus. The ongoing normalisation of Israeli-Arab relations is a positive development for our region because it reduces tensions, something that is especially important for small countries. Our strategy must not be based on a permanent fallout between Turkey and Israel or even Turkey and Egypt. As a small country, Cyprus should strive to contribute to the de-escalation of geopolitical friction.

Within the EU, Cyprus should avoid taking a stand with respect to conflicts in the region. In other words, it should maintain an institutional role of neutrality on certain issues. Some may see this proposal as a form of loss of state sovereignty but Switzerland, which has adopted similar attitudes, is not a state of diminished sovereignty.

3.4 The Functionality of the State and the EU Framework

The solution must guarantee the functionality of the reunited state, while respecting the rights of all citizens. At the same time, all necessary safeguards should be incorporated into the constitution for the effective deterrence as well as resolution of potential crises, for the benefit of all citizens.

The solution should also be operational in terms of economic development. It must open up avenues of cooperation and coexistence, including encouraging the creation of joint ventures. The strategy of the reunited Cyprus must be to achieve sustainable development based on contemporary priorities (green economy, innovation, digital economy, etc.). At the same time, the aim should be to gradually close the gap between the standard of living of G/Cs and T/Cs, mainly by promoting an ambitious investment program to strengthen social and economic infrastructure in the T/C region. Sustainable development in the two regions and the FDA must be a key pillar for the development of real unity within the area, the People of Cyprus and the federal state. The well-being and prosperity of all is important for the future of the solution.

The implementation of the EU framework, with the least possible transitional divergences, is an absolute necessity for achieving stable and sustainable growth and economic convergence of G/Cs and T/Cs in the reunited Cyprus. This applies to banking supervision rules, financial rules, competition rules. It is equally important that strict quality standards apply to key sectors of the economy including education, health and social welfare. It is also important to safeguard the rights of free movement and settlement.     

We recognize that the most complex problem is the one involving property. The starting point of any approach must be the recognition of all ownership rights of G/Cs and T/Cs. The exercise of these rights will inevitably take into account the current realities created after almost 47 years of occupation and will be subject to transitional periods.

The solution should also encourage close cooperation and bring together all the productive forces of the state, in particular young people, scientists, people of the arts and culture, athletes and students, utilizing European funding programs. For example, the federal university, federal schools, federal university hospital, federal theater and culture center could join such funding programs. It should, of course, be safeguarded right from the outset, that they will be operating strictly based on academic qualifications of excellence, alongside any applicable quota rules.  It is very important to indicate to our compatriots that joint action by all Cypriots is in the interests of all, especially the new generation.

3.5 International guarantees

It is obvious that a ‘normal’ state does not need international guarantees. However, the “New Wave” considers that Cyprus, being situated in the tempestuous area that it is, with long-standing conflicts, guarantees are inevitable, at least for a limited time.

The main condition for a new guarantee scheme is the exclusion of the existing three guarantor powers. Past experiences leave no room for maintaining the current framework. The new transitional guarantees may come either from the EU or the UN Security Council, invoking Chapter VII of the UN Charter, or from a combination of the two. Turkey reacts to the prospect of EU guarantees because it is not itself a member of the EU, but this idea is reasonable given that the reunited Cyprus will be a member of the EU. With regard to guarantees from the Security Council, this is clearly a difficult process, but not impossible. The new UNFICYP could be authorised, on the basis of Chapter VII of the Charter, with increased possibilities for intervention relating to the implementation of the solution, or intervention in the event of a breach of the agreed provisions.

3.6 The Presidency and Vice-Presidency of the Country

The ‘New Wave’ believes that the ‘rotating presidency’, even with a weighted vote, which is currently at the negotiating table, creates conditions for a large proportion of citizens to reject the draft solution from the start. It is not the aim of this text to enter into detail on this issue, but we believe that a draft solution must be acceptable to a large majority on both sides, in order to have a lasting chance of success. With this in mind, two alternative scenarios can be considered:

Scenario A

We believe that the idea of a Presidential Council, based on the Swiss model, as proposed in the past, could be acceptable to the majority of citizens. It constitutes a fair arrangement under the circumstances, which also limits the scope for the creation of “professional politicians”, something that has troubled society both on the G/C and T/C sides.

As proposed, nine ministers, six G/Cs and three T/Cs, would participate in such a council and would chair the Council by rotation for six-month periods at a time. In this case, we are not talking about a president of the republic, we are talking about a presidential council.

However, for obvious reasons, the Presidential Council should be extended to 15 members, 10 G/C and 5 T/C, directly elected by the two communities by simple proportionality so as to represent all ideological currents.  The term of office of the 15 members of the presidential council will be 4.5 years and they will be entitled to two consecutive re-elections. In case of vacancy of a position this will be filled in by the first runner-up and his/her term of office will last until the end of the 4.5 years. The first 6 individuals elected by the G/C community, and the first 3 by the T/C community, will rotate among them every six months in the presidency of the council. For decision-making purposes, there must be at least one positive vote from each community. The President of the Council represents Cyprus and does not possess the authority to veto, he has the same voting rights as the other Council members. The Presidential Council will also be responsible for the administration of the FDA.

Scenario B

Presidential elections will be held with a double nomination, as in the U.S. That is to say, a president and vice-president will be elected simultaneously, as they appear on a common ballot. The elections will be held from a pancyprian voter list, so that citizens on both sides choose their supreme rulers democratically together. In this case the G/C will remain president for 3.5 years and the T/C for 1.5 years. Here, of course, the rotating presidency is acceptable since both parties are elected together, from a common electoral ballot, by all the Cypriot people. It can be appreciated that in this scenario pairings will be formed which will resonate with both sides, while at the same time nationalists and extremists will be marginalized

“New Wave” considers scenario A, based on the Swiss model, to be the more preferable approach.

With an executive Presidential Council governing the federation, there is no need for Senate.  The legislative body of the Federal Republic of Cyprus will be a Parliament comprised of 24 Greek Cypriots and 12 Turkish Cypriots. Proposals will be approved by simple majority of 19 votes, including at least 2 by Turkish Cypriots. For amendments to the Constitution, a 2/3 majority will be required, including at least 4 votes by Turkish Cypriots. An absence of a Senate and a smaller Parliament will result in significant savings for the state. Governance of the federation must be cost effective. The governing bodies (Presidential Council and Parliament) will be elected directly by the two communities through simple majority procedures.

4. Interim strategy of the Republic of Cyprus

It is almost certain that, at least for the time being, there is little hope of holding talks with positive prospects. Due to the maximalist demands of the Turkish side for two separate states and our own indecisiveness, it will be difficult to make progress. Meanwhile, Famagusta is in danger of being lost by the G/C side.

4.1 The framework of the UN SG and the international community

The UN Secretary-General may try to reintroduce the six-point framework he submitted in the previous round of talks. If the Turkish side does not insist only on a two-state basis solution, there may be a framework for reopening negotiations. It is understood that the President of the Republic must insist on a discussion of the Famagusta issue as a precondition for any developments on the territorial issue, as mandated in Security Council Resolutions 550 & 789. The territorial aspect is extremely important and there cannot be any solution of the problem without the return of Famagusta under Greek Cypriot administration and, in the worst-case scenario, the accession of the Morfos region to the FDA. The agreement of the 3rd Vienna must also be respected: The coastline percentage in each state must be proportional to the population of each community.

In the US, the situation is still fluid with respect to the policy of the new President, Mr. Biden. In the EU, especially after Brexit but also the problem of the pandemic, there is uncertainty about the next steps. It is not expected that the EU will impose serious sanctions on Turkey for several reasons and, in any case, sanctions are not the solution to our problem. Furthermore, the current UK government is becoming increasingly aligned with Turkey. Brexit gives the UK opportunities for an autonomous foreign policy, at the same time that the country is in search of new trade relations and partners. In all this, of course, Israel’s rapprochement with the Arab countries differentiates the geopolitical landscape of our region, and ceases to make Turkey the sole protagonist and indispensable ally.

We must make enormous efforts to prevent further adverse fait accompli. Things are difficult for many reasons including the following:

1. Our European partners do not consider our position to be correct on every level, in fact, we have not been able to clearly communicate and convince them of what it is that we actually want.

2. We are no longer considered trustworthy. Our political system has lost credibility. The escalating issues of corruption deprive us of many friends.  No one wants to be associated with countries whose political figures engage in dubious activities. Ongoing corruption within the leadership is hurting the country’s credibility. Small states need moral authority and moral superiority to survive. 

3. Our erratic relations with many countries, especially the large ones, and the dual language of the ‘political system’, have been and remain a major problem.

Contact with the T/C community is currently important. Maintaining contacts gives hope to the prospect of meaningful talks in the near future, which can lead to a solution. The prospect of a solution must remain alive. There are significant forces in the T/C community, even among those who supported Ersin Tatar in the recent election, against division. T/Cs want, among other things, to remain EU citizens and they know that this is something they will lose in the event of a definitive separation. Moreover, today’s dramatic developments in Turkey, the radicalisation of Islam and the shift away from the West, do not inspire the T/C youth.

If the Bicommunal Federation is the only desirable and feasible solution, what have we done as a community to show that we actually want it and that we are ready to display a spirit of compromise and pay a certain ‘cost’ to achieve it? In short, if the BBF is what we are seeking, we must demonstrate this practically not only to the T/Cs but also to the international community.

At the same time, curriculum on political systems should begin to be taught at all levels. We’re already 47 years late. We need to educate people, especially young people, on the basic aspects of constitutional federation. The political establishment, over the years, has managed to poison the concept of federation. Fear of the unknown is normal, so we must educate citizens. If we have decided that a federation is the way forward, then it is clear that all the official languages of our country must be taught in all schools in Cyprus.

Strategic moves to serve the above course of action must be undertaken immediately. It is necessary to set up a national technocratic committee comprised of scientists from a wide range of disciplines, working closely to re-establish a strategy and course, decoding and taking into account changing international and local developments and informing the political leadership.

It is through such analyses that we can look ahead and draw up strategies of excellence. For example, natural gas in the EEZ of Cyprus, instead of being used for threatening our state sovereignty, could and should become an instrument for strengthening reunification, provided that we consider not just the political aspects but also the actual technical energy-related realities.

4.2 Continuous Scientific Analysis

The National Council of Cyprus is in need of substantial scientific support, utilizing the best and brightest academics and graduates of the country. We need a “thinking institute”, involving specialist scientists, both from Cyprus and abroad. An institute that will develop appropriate connections to ensure that its analyses are in tune with the international political dialogue affecting the future of our country. An institute whose analyses are a source for the new geopolitical mosaic of our region. Strengthening and upgrading our diplomatic service is equally important and necessary in the circumstances of semi-occupation. Academic and cultural diplomacy must also be part of our overall effort to enlighten the international community.

We live in a hot region, with constant reclassifications, with relations and alliances, with unstable geopolitical data and intense socio-economic challenges. The ongoing developments are literally unprecedented. Historical events have never been as condensed as they are today. We must understand that today’s historic upheavals, although they involve risks, also create historic opportunities. Proper reading of the conditions and rapid actions are needed.

Cyprus must use its historical experience as a tool towards rational and effective treatment of our problems. We need appropriate political action, knowledge, insight, the ability to engage at an international level, an understanding of the international arena and the related associations. People are tired of seeing political careers built on the pain of the division of our country.

In conclusion, our strategic objectives should be focused on building a common homeland, with a federal structure, decentralisation of responsibilities, effective participation of T/C in decision-making and, at the same time, substantial territorial adjustments for the withdrawal of foreign troops and the abolition of existing guarantees. In this common country, after a short transitional period, the acquis communautaire on human rights and the economic framework should be fully implemented, including the full implementation of the free movement of trade, services, capital and human resources.

4.3 Broad Political Consensus

The collapse of the domestic front has particularly adverse effects. Foreign diplomats experience a cacophony when talking to Cypriot politicians and, moreover, our internal disputes give Turkey important ammunition and reasons to expose us during its negotiations with the international players. Another major drawback of the internal conflict is that Turkey is given the opportunity to influence internal developments by taking advantage of internal conflicts.

The “New Wave” is a movement founded on common sense and scientific validation. We believe that there is an urgent need for informed debate that will redefine the basis for solving the Cyprus problem. If during the pandemic the political system trusts medical science to overcome the crisis, why not trust political scientists, constitutionalists and experienced diplomats to overcome the crisis in our national problem?

It is important for the G/C community to answer without ambivalence the basic question of “what solution is it that we want?”

The “New Wave” believes that the Cypriot government should present a concrete solution plan to the people, which would form, if it receives a significant majority acceptance in a referendum, the basis for negotiations and be accepted and respected by all political forces.

5. Conclusions

We live in a challenging, competitive and unrelenting world, governed by self-interest, geopolitical pursuits, ruthless economics and non-transparent systems. To survive in such a world, we need to have accurate perception, be able to exercise sound judgement and have the appetite and willingness to learn and evolve. There do not exist any easy solutions, simple routes or saviors.

All those who promote a seemingly hard line on the Cyprus issue are doing just as much harm to our national affair as those who promote a solution for its own sake. The “New Wave” does not agree with either of these approaches.

We have before us Turkey, a country which despite its many problems, is nevertheless a powerful military force with substantial leverage and an economy far larger than that of Cyprus and Greece.  

Turkey, until recently, was largely tolerated because it was a consumer country, i.e. a substantial importer. However, the situation has shifted considerably over the past decade, with Turkey now competing with large countries in the export of arms. For the major powers this is a huge problem, especially as Turkey is trying to influence geopolitical balances in other regions, such as Africa. With all this in mind, our every move must be characterized by sobriety, mature assessment and wisdom.

Our strategy must be based on realistic analysis of the modern world and not on outdated, unfounded and dangerous ideologies of the party system. After all, to be a patriot in today’s world, you must have the ability to be calm and composed, to use reason and rationality to analyze the world around you and to act in a way that promotes and protects the common benefit of your country. You must isolate and eliminate the highly dangerous tactics of populism, hysteria and the instigation of passion as a strategy for manipulating citizens. A country should operate with wisdom and scientific documentation, not through uncontrolled emotion.

Slogans against the implementation of time frames may sound correct but in reality, the absence of time frames solidifies the occupation and makes a solution less attainable, while at the same time giving the message that we are comfortable with the status quo. We must take initiatives, set time frames of our own and convince the international world that we are seeking a solution which will be in the best interest of all Cypriot citizens. Our long-standing passive attitude continues to be destructive. Stillness is in Turkey’s favour and certainly gives it time for new fait accompli.

Bearing in mind all the above, with proper handling of the situation, the possibility to open a small window into our efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, is there.

6. Epilogue

A serious country looks to the future, carving out long-term strategic objectives based mainly on scientific, realistic and reliable analysis of data and capabilities, bearing in mind size constraints. All this with moderation but also with flexibility.

We need as a country a clear vision that we will serve with consistency, talent and commitment, so as to shield our country and the Republic from all external threats and the degradation of European values. We lost the «battle» in 1974 because our homeland was betrayed, as a consequence of the internal erosion of its systems and values. Our struggle today is not just a struggle for social and economic development as it is for the rest of the European peoples. Our own struggle is also one of pure survival and if we lose this battle too, there will be no others, it will be the last.

Persistent effort for an acceptable solution gives hope to our children and the children of our children, a hope that is not illusory. It is an “educated hope” that encourages and cultivates effort to attain the seemingly unattainable and make it approachable. 

Our country can, and must, quickly and drastically increase its strength and power, particularly from a diplomatic, scientific and cultural perspective, achieving this through various actions, partnerships and alliances, in order to finally enter into a promising path towards a future of freedom, security and dignity.

Today, we have a historic obligation to overcome decades of inadequacy and redefine our goals. We must, more than ever before, properly interpret international developments, read and rationally decode international policy, understand the new evolving geopolitical framework, become fully aligned and without ambiguity with our European allies and draw up a strategy that will pave the way for liberation and vindication.

The Cyprus issue will be resolved, our land will be reunited and the Turkish occupation will cease, only if all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike, join forces for a common and hopeful vision for their common homeland.

Nicosia, March 2021
New Wave – The Other Cyprus

“New Wave – The Other Cyprus” is a socio-political “startup”, which listens to the needs of society for change and modernization.
The “New Wave – The Other Cyprus” was created by independent, free-thinking and active citizens, coming from a wide social spectrum. In “New Wave – The Other Cyprus” we are united by the love for our place, as well as the concern for its course so far. We are united by the urgent need to improve and change our country, keeping them well and tearing down everything that fixes it.
Our vision: A Cyprus that is modernized based on the principles of sustainability, that is innovative, modern economy, welfare state and that approaches issues holistically. We envision a strong state value system based on democratic principles and moral values. We envision a better Cyprus, an “Other Cyprus”!